Lesson 1/Day 1 – Complete!


I’m sitting here, complete, after experiencing Day 1/Lesson 1 of my youngest son’s driving. Mind you, he’s never driven a car before and doesn’t START Drivers Ed until Monday EVENING – but, with Michigan’s new rules for beginning drivers OVER 18, he gets the paper permit and then drives – strange to me, but that’s the way it goes. Since he starts Monday evening AND since he’s supposed to have ‘some’ working idea of how to drive, we went out for our first ‘experience.’ Not bad – I was happy! He listened, was cautious and in control. (needs practice on driving too close to curbs but he did well for his first time out!). I took him to an ‘almost’ abandoned shopping mall near us. There is still a working Sears store, so we had to sort of avoid parked cars (OR one ‘person’ – want to call them a name, but I’ll be kind, who decided to race through the parking lot SIDEWAYS! Son just caught his ‘shadow/streak’ out of the corner of his eye and stopped or we’d have been creamed chipped beef! On toast, yet!)

After awhile I drove us across the parking lot area to another empty lot, this time it was covered in icy snow – great experience! Living in Michigan in winter, there’s almost no avoiding driving in snow or ice. This was a controlled situation which gave him the experience of how it feels if you suddenly start to skid. I had him gun it a bit, turn the wheel sharply left and then immediately hit the brakes. Yes, we skidded a bit (my car has anti-locking brakes, so he didn’t get a ‘full effect’ but it was a start!). We did this repeatedly until he felt more confident and in control. We practiced angle parking – not too hard to do. (NOT looking forward to when we get to PARALLEL parking – that’s ‘THE PITS’!) I remember many hours in empty parking lots with both older sons using Michigan Bell orange traffic cones, going over & over the same thing. Finally, it took my husband working with them for them to be able to pass that part of the test.  Anyway, it was a good ‘first try’ for him – and me. He asked, when we first got in the car, if I would try my best not to YELL at him, even though he knew he would probably make some mistakes. I didn’t yell, he did fine. It’s going to be a LOOOOONNNGGG time going out on the roads with him and I’m NOT looking forward to it, but hopefully, he will do well. Hey, I/we survived oldest son nearly totally our car AND the 3 people in it during a sudden winter snowstorm on a MAJOR highway during RUSH HOUR traffic. I told him to slow down, he got mad at me and hit the accelerator – we spun, nearly side-swiping MANY  cars – the Lord was truly with us that day. He was grounded from driving for a month. Middle son didn’t listen when I told him, while driving through a neighborhood, that there was a line of mailboxes along the edge of the street – fortunately, we only managed to push my side mirror in towards the car (it’s made that way) and didn’t smash the mailboxes or dent/scratch my car. Yep, I’ve had my share of going through NEW DRIVERS . . . sigh.

It’s been a busy week so far: husband went to doctor’s for what he thought was bronchitis, but turned out it’s only allergies/drippy nose. We were at the doctor’s for almost 3 hours – I rushed home, stopped at Little Caesar’s for $5 pizzas, gulped a few slices and went to Knit Night (14 ladies) – good evening, finally able to relax a bit. Tonight’s special needs group – nothing out of the ordinary (I hope). Looking forward to going out to lunch with a few friends from church some time next week; that’s the extent of my ‘fun stuff’ for now.

The weather’s been accomodating: clear & slightly cold. Right now it’s 38 degrees & overcast/gray but no new snow coming in the near future (YAY!).


Santa Fe Chicken Bake

2 C. instant white rice, uncooked

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup

2 C. water

1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro

4 small boneless, skinless chicken

breast halves

1/2 C. thick salsa

1 C. Mexican-style finely

shredded Four Cheese (Kraft)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Combine rice, beans & peppers in

9 X 13 baking dish. Mix soup, water &

cilantro; pour over rice mixture. Top

with chicken & salsa. Bake 45

minutes or until chicken is done

(165 degrees F.). Top with cheese

last 10 minutes of baking.

Makes 4 servings.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Banana Pudding


3/4 C. sugar, divided

1/3 C. flour

dash salt

3 eggs, separated

2 C. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

45 vanilla wafers, divided

5 bananas, sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Mix 1/2 C. sugar, flour & salt in top

of double boiler*. Blend in 3 egg yolks &

milk. Cook, uncovered, over boiling

water 10 -12 minutes or until thickened,

stirring constantly. Remove from heat,

stir in vanilla.Reserve 12 wafers for garnish. Spread

small amount of custard onto bottom

of  1 1/2 qt. baking dish. Cover with layers

of  1/3 wafers, bananas & remaining custard.

Repeat layers 2 times.

Beat egg whites on high speed of mixer until

soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining

sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over custard,

sealing well to edge of dish. Bake 15-20 minutes

or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Top with

reserved wafers just before serving. Serves 12,

2/3 C. each

*How to prepare without double boiler:

You can place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan

of  simmering water on top of stove. Be sure to use

a bowl that fits snugly over the pan. Do not allow

simmering water to touch bottom of bowl.

Usepot holders when removing bowl of cooked custard

from saucepan, as it will be very hot.

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Cheesy Chicken & Potatoes

1 large green pepper, chopped
1 lb. red potatoes (about 3) very thinly
1 tsp. paprika (can also use smoked paprika)
8 small bone-in chicken thighs (2 lb)
skin removed
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/4 lb. (4 oz) Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley

Spray crockpot with nonstick spray &
add peppers, then top with potatoes. Sprinkle
paprika over chicken. Place 4 thighs in crockpot;
cover with soup & remaining thighs; cover with
lid. Cook on Low 6-8 hours or High 3-4 hours.
Use slotted spoon to transfer chicken & vegetables
to platter; cover to keep warm. Set crockpot to
High, add Velveeta & Worcestershire sauce to
reserved liquid in crockpot. Cover with lid; cook
5 minutes. Stir until Velveeta is completely
melted & sauce is well blended. Spoon over
chicken & vegetables; top with parsley.
Makes 4 servings

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Broccoli Corn Scallop

2 T. chopped onions
2 T. butter or marg., divided
1 T. flour
1 1/4 C. milk
1  (8 oz) pkg. shredded Monterrey
Jack cheese
1 (11 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
12 Ritz crackers, crushed (about 1/2 C.),
2 (10 oz, ea) pkgs. frozen broccoli spears,
thawed & divided

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook & stir onions in 1 T. butter in medium
saucepan on medium heat, 1 minute. Blend in
flour. Gradually stir in milk; cook & stir 2 – 3
minutes or until thickened. Add cheese; cook 2-3
minutes or until melted, stirring constantly. Stir in
corn & 1/4 C. cracker crumbs. Place broccoli in
12 X 8 baking dish; top with sauce. Melt remaining
butter; mix with remaining cracker crumbs; sprinkle
over sauce. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.
Serves 8

NOTE: Can be made ahead & refrigerated up to 24
hours. When ready to serve, bake, uncovered, in
350 degrees F. oven 45 minutes or until heated

(recipe: Kraft foods)

No Brainer Chicken (crockpot)

1 lb. frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(do not thaw!)
2 (15 oz, ea) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
2 (10 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes with green
chilies, drained
1 C. frozen corn
fresh chopped cilantro
sour cream

Place chicken, beans, tomatoes & corn in
crockpot. Cover & cook on Low 6 hours.
Garnish with cilantro & sour cream when

NOTE: To make it less spicy, use 1 can mild
chili tomatoes & 1 can regular tomatoes.

Poster noted she used 2 cans Rotel tomatoes,
one original flavor & 1 mild and ‘that was plenty

(recipe: Peg-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Old Fashioned Molasses Cake

2 T. butter, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1/2 C. dark molasses*
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 C. hot water
9 T Cool Whip, thawed

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In small bowl, beat butter & sugar until
crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg &
molasses. Combine flour, baking soda,
ginger, cinnamon & salt; add to butter
mixture alternately with water, mixing
well after each addition. Transfer to a
9 inch square baking pan sprayed with
nonstick spray. Bake 25-30 minutes or
until a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Cut into squares & garnish with Cool

*If using light molasses, use 3/4 Cup

(recipe: Vanessa-justapinch.com)

Hot & Sour Soup

3 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. water
2 C. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 C. sliced bamboo shoots, drained
3 slices fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breast
halves, cut into thin strips
1 T. sesame oil
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
3 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. cornstarch
1 egg, beaten

In a saucepan, combine chicken broth, water,
mushrooms, bamboo shoots, ginger, garlic,
soy sauce & hot pepper flakes; bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover & simmer while
assembling rest of ingredients. Place chicken
slices in a bowl & toss with sesame oil to coat.
In a separate bowl, stir together cornstarch &
vinegar; set aside. Increase heat under broth
to medium-high; return to rolling boil. Add
chicken slices. Return to boil & then drizzle
in egg while stirring slowly to create long
strands of egg. Stir in vinegar & cornstarch.
Simmer over medium heat, stirring
occasionally until chicken is cooked through
and broth has thickened slightly, about 3
minutes. Serve garnished with green onions &
cilantro. Serves 4

(recipe: Pilgrims Pride)

Make-Ahead Cinnamon French Toast

5 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 C. milk
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 loaf day-old French bread
1 C. milk chocolate chips or (Hershey’s)
Cinnamon chips
maple syrup (optional)

Spray a 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray. Whisk
together eggs, milk, cinnamon & vanilla in
medium bowl; set aside. Cut French bread into
6 (1 1/2 inch thick) slices.* Using small, sharp
knife, cut 2-3 inch long slits in one crust side of
each bread slice, cutting 3/4 of the way through
bread to create a pocket. Spoon 2 heaping
tablespoons chips into pocket of each bread slice;
press to close. Dip each filled bread slice in egg
mixture, coating each side completely. Place
coated slices in prepared pan. Cover pan with
plastic wrap; refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Bake, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until
golden brown. Transfer toast to plates. Serve
with maple syrup, if desired. Makes 6+ servings.

*Number of slices will vary according to the length
of the bread loaf. Increase chips by an additional
2 tablespoons for each additional bread sliced.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Craft-wise, still have about three rows on the border for the baby afghan. I did knit a pair of white ‘Fortune Cookie’ Baby Booties and found a perfect little paper ‘Chinese Take-Out’ container to put them in! We were at CVS drugstore today and they had a 75% off all Valentine’s items – the container cost a huge total of 32 cents! It’s white with red hearts – perfect for the baby shower!

DSC04092_small                            IMG_1331_small

This is how you’re supposed to package them . . . . these are what they look like (mine are white). I thought it was a very clever idea.

Anyway – enjoy your day!



Published in: on March 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I can’t IMAGINE how scary it will be to teach my daughter to drive!!! Eeeekkkkk..

  2. What a clever package for the booties–that was using the noggin! I only remember working with my daughter in a a parking lot many years ago. Her biggest problem was aiming at the things I said to avoid. So I changed the directions to focusing on the path she should follow instead and shortly she was doing great. I’m sure the adventures with my two sons were hair raising to say the least but with the Driver’s Training plus mom and dad’s help they all turned out to be very good drivers.

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